Participating in the AFCA Conference presents many benefits which may be immediate, medium and long term and depending on the preparations that one makes prior to the conference, there is definitely a good return on the investment. It is important to know on the onset that it is only the AFCA conference that convenes under one roof a diversity of quality global community of coffee personalities and organizations in Africa. This diversity includes but not limited to scientists, researchers, farmers, traders, roasters, consumers, equipment and machinery manufacturers, policy makers, NGOs, diplomats, intergovernmental organizations, academicians, journalists, politicians, civil society organizations, students, women and men. The implication of this is that you have to get something out of the conference including among other things;
AFCA conference is indeed a network of influence. It is a conference that brings who is who in the specialty and fine coffee market segment. Interacting with specialty coffee buyers directly by farmers and origin traders and exporters is an opportunity not only to make deals but create interpersonal relationships that put humanity at the center of coffee trade. This certainly improves the image of the global coffee value chain that had for a long time seen as a curtail depriving plight and dignity of farmers. Therefore, the AFCA conference proves positively that the coffee value chain is an ecosystem that cherishes human relationship in a collaborative but competitive manner.
The Uganda government’s aim to sharply raise coffee revenue looks increasingly more achievable as annual production jumps by more than one million bags.
However, as pointed out at the 16th African Fine Coffee Conference in Kampala recently, a few bumps stand in the way of the multi-billion dollar dream. On paper, the government has an ambitious target of reaching 20 million (60kg each) bags per annum by 2020.
The nonprofit World Coffee Research has expanded its groundbreaking Arabica Coffee Varieties catalog, adding varieties from six African countries, an expanded introduction, and new findings in genetic and historical research.
Uganda has been tasked to improve its coffee quality if it wants to sell its product at a premium price on the global market.
Speakers at the just-concluded African Fine Coffee conference held at Serena hotel in Kampala observed that while Uganda was upping its coffee production levels, its Robusta and Arabica coffees received negative differentials at the world market because of poor quality.
This means it fetches less money than it would have if it was rated positively.
Agriculture minister Vincent Ssempijja said the country was determined to work on coffee quality. He said it is only then that the country can sell its coffee at a premium.
Despite significant coffee exports to the world market worth about 2 billion dollars a year, Uganda's coffee is still not visible on shelves.
Government and stakeholders in the coffee sub sector must prioritise investment in marketing the countrys coffee if the country is to rip any tangible benefits from the crop.